You just got accepted to your dream school—only that it’s miles away from your house. So now, you have no choice but to find a new place to stay. Ah, it smells like freedom, right?
Your excitement brings you to the dormitory pages. You have a couple of options, but you can’t choose. So now you’re stuck and can’t decide how to go on with your dorm hunting.
Dorm hunting is a vital part of your college life as it allows you to find the space that fits best for you. So it’s only normal to take the time to look into every possible option available.
Before jumping into the first room you can find, take note of these important things college students must consider while looking for dorms.
1. Budget/ Financial Capacity
How much are you willing to pay for your dormitory room? Consider other daily necessities like food and transportation, and your miscellaneous fees like books and school projects. You don’t want to end up with a luxurious, fully furnished room with only instant noodles for lunch and dinner.
Another important tip many first-time dormers forget is to ask about the dormitories’ billing, payment installments, and deadlines. While university campus dorms often set a standard payment that covers all amenities and services, this is not always the case with off-campus and private dorms. Some separately collect payment for the rooms, internet, and utility bills.
It’s helpful to make a monthly budget plan based on your financial capacity. Having a planned budget will help you narrow down your options and find a place that is both comfortable and affordable.
2. Condition Of The Room/Unit
We get it; you’re excited. After scrolling through available dormitory offers, you think you just found the perfect place. You couldn’t let such a fantastic opportunity pass, so you immediately reserved yourself a slot.
While this isn’t a bad thing since most dormitories fill up fast due to the number of applicants, it’s also not the best thing to do. Sometimes, online pictures can be deceiving, and you might regret your decision.
It’s crucial to check the room before reserving your slot. In most dorm hunting situations, students visit numerous dormitories to get a feel of the place. Check the rooms for any defects that might pose a problem in the future. It’s also ideal to look into their security system and if the dormitory has emergency exits.
Your safety is a top priority, so ensure that your dormitory is prepared for any possible incidents. A checklist of what you prefer in a room could be beneficial when touring dormitory houses.
3. Accessibility Of The Place
When looking for dormitories, you usually have two main options: on-campus or off-campus.
If you’re considering dorms outside of campus, it’s crucial to check their accessibility. How close is it to the university? Is there any accessible transportation? Check for any nearby convenience stores, pharmacies, and clinics. Are you beside the main highway or in a secluded area?
College students often go home late when drowned with org activities and school projects or when out partying. Make sure to find a place that makes it easy and safe to navigate at night and is near your daily necessities.
4. Getting A Roommate
Are you comfortable having 1 or 2 people with you, or do you prefer total privacy in your room? Having a roommate is a totally different experience.
Often, campus dorms decide your roommate for you. It’s a game of chance, and hopefully, you won’t end up typing that “Worst Roommate Experience” in your university secret files. However, that’s not always the case. There are a lot of advantages to having a roommate, and college life is so much better with one.
But if you prefer to keep your personal space all to yourself or like to choose your roommates, private dormitories are your best bet. Roommates are also a good option if you want someone to split the dorm fee and the bills with, especially when you have limited financial capacity.
5. Rules And Regulations
Always ask about the dorm’s rules and regulations. How strict is the dorm? Are there any curfews? Are visitors allowed in your room? Knowing the rules will help you decide whether you’re comfortable with the dormitory or not.
If you’re someone who prefers cooking or doing your laundry, note that not all dormitories allow you to do this. Some might enable a few kitchen appliances like rice cookers and microwaves, but not butane stoves. Other dorms don’t allow cooking and laundry at all.
If you’re planning to rent a condo or an apartment studio unit, there’s nothing to worry about as you have the freedom to manage your living space. However, if you’re renting a student dorm, there are usually more rules you have to follow. Before signing a lease or paying the first installment, confirm with the dorm manager or landlord if they have specific restrictions regarding dormers and renters.
Dorms in movies look cool, chic, and dreamy. No. Don’t make those movies your guide when dorm hunting. Manage your expectations, or you might end up disappointed. Unless you can afford condominium units, it’s rare to find dormitories that look like those in the movies.
Most of the time, you will compromise on things because not all dormitories have what you’re looking for. Always consider what you can afford and what is conducive enough to live in. The most important thing is that you can sleep comfortably and study well without disturbances.
Taking recommendations from upperclassmen and looking into reviews is another good practice to set your expectations and find a student-friendly dorm.
College is hard enough, so try to avoid adding another burden by having problems with your living space. Don’t be nervous and read through online forums to find good suggestions and advice from people who have tried dorms at your chosen university. Preparing for dorm hunting makes a huge difference, so do your research as early as now.